Canadian Route 66 Founder Wins Award

Green Lake resident Lorrie Fleming was announced as a BC Achievement Community Award recipient on April 27 for her work as founder of the Canadian Route 66 Association in 1996.

“Lorrie Fleming has generated a harmonious legacy to connect the corridor between the famed Route 66 (USA) collectively with Route 97 and 99 (BC Heritage Highways). A champion for rural communities, Lorrie’s cross border initiatives in popular culture and arising economic strategies have given a voice to the stories of those who live and work in her region,” the backgrounder reads.

The recipients of the 2020 Community Award will be recognized in a formal presentation ceremony in Victoria, in the presence of the Honourable Janet Austin, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and each recipient will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony planned for the end of April has been postponed to a future date to be announced.

“I can’t believe it. I’m still in awe. My husband said, ‘there must be another Lorrie Fleming.’ I’ve been working on this road for 25 years now and I can’t believe now I’m old that I’m being recognized,” she says. “As founder of the Canadian Route 66 Preservation Society, I am honoured to be part of a resurgence in ‘Main Streets’ an international cross border revival in time travel.”

She said she got notified about a month ago that she was nominated through Explore Gold Country.

“I’ve been working with BC Gold Country for a few years in trying to merry up the mother road, which of course is Route 66, with our B.C. Gold Rush because we are so interrelated [with] the Americans,” she says. “We can’t deny that we are so interlinked.”

The Canadian Route 66 Association was started with a number of founders being B.C. based car clubs, which meant she really had to make sure the difference between a Ford, a Chevrolet and a Chrysler, she says.

“I wanted to speak their language.”

It’s amazing how many people have stepped out of the shadow to be part of the resurgence of the road, which hold a special place in her heart with its kitschy bear, she says.

Fleming says she’s blessed to be living in the Cariboo.

“By living in the Cariboo, this has generated a whole new interest in the road. When I lived in Vancouver, you get swallowed up there because there’s so much other activity but being in the Cariboo on the Cariboo Gold Rush Road, this has been a new era.”

Standing On Corner

Lorrie Fleming stands in Winslow Arizona on the famous corner on Route 66 popularized in verse by The Eagles in their song. (Bob Walker photo)